Monday, March 25, 2013

Bills not passed by the BC Legislature in the Spring 2013 Session

I raise this because the BC Legislature is not currently sitting.  We have no active election campaign at the moment but the MLAs are all out back home ready to campaign.   The Legislature was scheduled to be sitting through till May but instead the session was cut short for no good reason.   We have several pieces of legislation that were not passed that the government introduced in this session.

The Legislature was scheduled to return from a three week break on April 8th.   The election writ will not be dropped till April 16th so there were still five scheduled sitting days on the calendar before the writ.  They still had time left on their schedule to pass the last bills.    They could also have forgone their three week break on the schedule and been sitting last week and this week if the unfinished business mattered to them.

In the end three of the 17 government bills before the Legislature this spring did not get passed.  You have to wonder why the three bills were not considered important enough to be passed and what belief or commitment there was from the government in those bills.  

Bill 9 - 2013 - Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2013 - did not get to second reading.   If the government was serious about the measures in the budget they would have passed this.  There was more than enough time to have the Legislature fully debate this and pass it.   Choosing not to pass it only reinforces that the 2013 BC Budget is political theatre and not a serious government plan.  

Bill 17 - 2013 - Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act - did not make it past first reading.  Why introduce this if you are not going to pass it?  It is not as if this can he held over to the next session of parliament because there will be no next session.   It has to be reintroduced for first reading after the election by a new NDP government.

Bill 17 - 2013 - Senate Nominee Election Act - stalled out after first reading.   There is no reason this could not have been passed and a vote held on May 14th for BC nominees for the Senate.  If the government believed in this idea they would have passed it, the fact they did not tells me there is no interest from the BC Liberals in senate elections.   Everyone knows the NDP does not believe in senate elections because they want the upper house abolished.  The Liberals knew this was the last chance to introduce senate nominee elections for many years but they did not pass it.

Bill 18 - 2013 - Health Authorities Amendment Act, 2013 was introduced after Bill 17 and and Bill 16 and managed to get Royal Assent.   This shows there was time in the sitting to pass bills introduced as late as March 4th.

One of the points of having a fixed election date is so that legislation can be passed because everyone knows the date for the end of the parliament.  It is simply incompetent management on the government side not to get everything passed before the election, the date is not a surprise.   If they wanted to be done by March 14th, why did they not bring the legislature back several weeks earlier?

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